Alchemy, Art

Magical Elements…

Air

Earth

Water

Fire

From such simple devices, the ancients sought to traverse the stars

*

Most people, if asked, would claim to be familiar with these elements largely because in the physical world they can recognise substances which, today, go by that name.

“I know what earth, air, fire and water are,” they might haughtily declare before moving on to something infinitely more befitting their lofty opinion of themselves.

But they would be wrong.

Nobody knows what the elements are.

We may be able to recognise them and in some instances, we may also be able to predict what they will do, how they will operate, what results will follow from their mutual interactions, but we do not know what they are, any more than we can ever claim to know what electricity is, except, perhaps, in very vague terms…

Electricity is a force of nature that can be harnessed…

The elements are forces of nature that can be harnessed…

So mysterious are these forces that some mystical schools refuse to call them elements at all, referring to them, instead, as principles.

For Modern Man this mystery is a failing, so it is not accepted and certainly not talked about…

For Ancient Man this mystery was a joy, embraced with open arms, and became something of a raison d’etre.

The ancients never tired of observing the kaleidoscopic interplay of these forces constantly taking place around them.

Consequently, they discovered some pretty amazing things about them.

They called this study, Alchemy…

***

***

A thousand miles of history…

To be exact, that should be one thousand, one hundred and twenty four miles, but that makes for a bit of a mouthful… According to my navigator, on this road trip half the roads we took are not even marked on the paper map we use, and we are pretty certain that many of them exist only as sunbathing spots for the local ovine, bovine and equine population. We began with a couple of places we wanted to see en route to Dorchester, for the workshop. Over the course of that weekend, we visited twelve historic sites spanning several thousand years. The next day we went west for moorlands, stone circles and a rather special church. And then we headed down to Cornwall and, with sacred and ancient sites around pretty much every corner, a misty, turquoise sea beneath fabulous cliffs and wildflowers everywhere, we were in our element. Without the camera, I would have no chance of remembering all the places we visited in any semblance of order! As it is, I came back with a couple of thousand photos, fair buzzing at the incredible places we had been… and even the long drive home held surprises. It seems incredible that we could see so much, and all without rushing either. Perhaps it was the mists… or perhaps the green wormholes through which we walked and drove that exploited a loophole in the space-time continuum but whatever the cause, I came home a very happy hobbit. And with so many places to write about…

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